Why do I get a "stopped working" message when I start my Office application?

Update Windows

It’s important to make sure that Windows is fully up-to-date. A recent update could correct the startup issue you are experiencing with your Office 2013 or Office 2016 application.

  1. Install the latest Windows updates to your computer.

    NOTE:  If you aren’t sure how to update Windows, the update your computer article will provide information on both manual updates and how to set up automatic updates.

  2. Restart your computer.

  3. Try to open your Office application.

  4. If after installing Windows updates you're still receiving a “stopped working” error, continue to the next section and follow the instructions.

Start an application in Safe Mode

Starting the application in Safe Mode is a great way to find out if the problem is caused by an add-in.

In Windows 10
  1. Right-click the Start button Windows Start button in Windows 8 and Windows 10 (lower-left corner), and choose Run.

    Run command after right-click Start in Windows 8 and Windows 10
  2. Type one of these commands:

    • Type excel /safe and press Enter to start Excel.

    • Type outlook /safe and press Enter to start Outlook.

    • Type winword /safe and press Enter to start Word.

    • Type powerpnt /safe and press Enter to start PowerPoint.

    • Type mspub /safe and press Enter to start Publisher.

    • Type visio /safe and press Enter to start Visio.

In Windows 8
  1. Right-click the Start button Windows Start button in Windows 8 and Windows 10 (lower-left corner), and choose Run.

    Run command after right-click Start in Windows 8 and Windows 10
  2. Type one of these commands:

    • Type excel /safe and press Enter to start Excel.

    • Type outlook /safe and press Enter to start Outlook.

    • Type winword /safe and press Enter to start Word.

    • Type powerpnt /safe and press Enter to start PowerPoint.

    • Type mspub /safe and press Enter to start Publisher.

    • Type visio /safe and press Enter to start Visio.

In Windows 7
  1. Choose Start > Run.

  2. Type one of these commands:

    • Type excel /safe and press Enter to start Excel.

    • Type outlook /safe and press Enter to start Outlook.

    • Type winword /safe and press Enter to start Word.

    • Type powerpnt /safe and press Enter to start PowerPoint.

    • Type mspub /safe and press Enter to start Publisher.

    • Type visio /safe and press Enter to start Visio.

If the Office application doesn’t start in Safe Mode, the problem isn’t with add-ins. Go to the More Informationsection for other reasons why your Office application is crashing.

Disable add-ins one at a time while still in Safe Mode

If the Office application starts in Safe Mode, disable the add-ins one at a time.

  1. With the Office application still in Safe Mode, click File > Options > Add-Ins.

  2. Next to the Manage list, click Go.

  3. Uncheck one of the add-ins in the list and click OK.

  4. Restart the application (not in Safe Mode this time).

If the Office application starts, there’s a problem with the add-in you unchecked. We recommend you visit the company website for the add-in to check for an updated version you can install. If there isn’t a newer version or if you don’t need to use the add-in you can leave it unchecked or remove it from your PC.

If the Office application doesn’t start, repeat the steps to uncheck the other add-ins one by one. If all add-ins are unchecked and you still can’t open your Office application, follow the steps under Troubleshooting COM Add-ins.

Troubleshooting COM Add-ins

A COM Add-in may also be responsible for the startup problem. With the Office application still in Safe Mode:

  1. Click File > Options > Add-Ins.

  2. In the Manage list, click COM Add-Ins, and then click Go.

  3. Uncheck one of the add-ins in the list and click OK.

  4. Restart the application (not in Safe Mode this time).